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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Bac Ha Market: The colours of life

See the locations on Bac Ha Google Map

Picture by Canadian Veggie

Every Sunday the market of Bắc Hà is an overwhelming mixture of colours and tastes. Embroidered clothes and bags of the Flower Hmong and the visible joy around trying and bartering between sellers and buyers are in the centre of all, but buffalos, horses, dogs, cats and chicken are traded here as well as local vegetables, corns and fruits. The market attracts villagers from the surrounding hill tribes: H’mong, Red Dao and Ha Nhi people. Some walk several hours from their villages, others arrive by motorbikes.

Picture by marhas
Embroidered clothes of the Flower Hmong

Picture my marhas

Picture by marhas
The much sought-after bags of the Flower Hmong

Picture by marhas

Picture by marhas
The chicken are going to change the owner

Picture by marhas
The horse market

Picture by marhas
A bird and the money change hands

Picture by marhas
At the buffalo market

Picture by marhas

Picture by marhas

Picture by marhas
Puppets and silver jewelry

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The animals of Bac Ha

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Shimmering cups

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What grows nearby

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Bananas not from far away

No market is complete without the food corner:

Picture by marhas
Meat soup (horse or buffalo) sizzling on a coal fire. The horse soup is called “Thang co”.

Picture by marhas Fried delicacies

Picture by marhas
Buy some corn

Picture by marhas
End of life for the pig

Eating and seeing the cook cooking - the show kitchen

See more pictures of Bac Ha Market by marhas

Picture by Joel Abroad

Bac Ha (700 m above sea level) reveals its most stunning beauty in the spring when peach and Tam Hoa plum trees are in full blossom. You discover the most beautiful plum gardens in Ban Pho Village at the foot of Co Tien Mountain, around 4km from Bac Ha Town. Therefore Bac Ha is also called "Cao nguyen trang" (White Valley). And the plum wine is excellent. 14 ethnic minority groups inhabit the area, among them Flower Hmong, Dzao, Giay (Nhang), Han (Hoa), Xa Fang, Lachi, Nung, Phula, Thai and Thulao and the Kinh (ethnic Vietnamese. Bac Ha Temple is dedicated to Gia Quoc Cong Vu Van Mat. On the seventh day of the seventh lunar month a festival is held at Bac Ha Temple.

Hoang A Tuong Castle - the palace of the Hmong King

Picture by Joel Abroad
Hmong Kings Palace at Ban Pho near Bac Ha

Hoang A Tuong Castle is located 300 m from Bac Ha Market. It is a combination of Western architecture and Oriental Feng Shui principles. The owner of this two- storey building was Hoang Yen Chao (of Tay origin). He was a local mandarin. The castle was built between 1914 and 1921 on a low hill overlooking the Bac Ha Valley.

Villages around Bac Ha provide a good opportunity to see how the people live. Ban Pho is the nearest. The Flower Hmong villagers are extremely hospitable and very kind. Ban Pho is a 1.7 km return trip from Bac Ha. Other nearby villages are Trieu Cai, an 8 km return walk; Na Ag, a 6 km return walk; and Na Hoi, a 4 km return walk.

Picture by marhas
Outlook from Ban Pho

Where you stay in Bac Ha

Anh Duong Guesthouse: Phone (+84-203) 880329. "Is a friendly place that overlooks the market. Rooms are small, but are bright and were renovated in 2002", writes vanhaitourism.com.
Cong Fu Hotel: 152 Ngoc Uyen street. Mixed reviews on tripadvisor.com
Dai Thanh Hotel: Phone (+84-203) 880488.
Dang Khoa Hotel: Phone (+84-203) 880290.
Minh Quan Hotel: Phone (+84-203) 880222. "A good hotel, with comfortable rooms, and balconies with views over the Bac Ha market and mountains", writes vanhaitourism.com.
Ngan Nga Hotel: Quite good reviews on tripadvisor.com.
Sao Mai Hotel: Phone (+84-203) 880288. Rooms in old concrete building and two newer wooden houses. Mixed reviews on tripadvisor.com.
Sunday Hotel: From 25 USD. 001 Vũ Văn Mật.
Tran Sin Hotel: Phone (+84-203) 880240. Overlooking the market, has balconies and mountain views from some rooms.
Tuan Anh Guesthouse: Phone (+84-203) 880377.
Tuan Lien: Phone (+84-203) 880261. Just next door to the Tran Sin.

Bac Ha Homestay: This homestay is located in Na Lo village, Ta Chai commune. The owner is Mr Vang A Van, he belong to the Tay people. Here they have hot water for shower. If you want you can have dinner & breakfast with their family.

How you arrive in Bac Ha

Minibuses depart from Lao Cai (40,000 Dong, two hours) around 6.30 am, 11 am and 1 pm daily. Buses from Bac Ha leave around 5.30 am, 11.30 am and 1 pm.

Learn about Sapa: Sapa Impressions

Where to stay in Sapa: Hotels and Guesthouses in Sapa and reviews of guests

Restaurants in Sapa: Where you eat in Sapa

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